Christ, what an asshole (also, a liar)

I haven’t watched any of the Republican convention thus far – and I suspect this won’t change. It’s more than just the fact that I disagree with virtually every position staked out by this radical and intolerant party – it’s the gall, as they boldly stand before us spouting hatred and lies. LIES. Not the self-serving stretching of the truth or deliberate shading of facts to portray themselves in a flattering light (which, sadly, is part and parcel of what we expect of our political leaders regardless of party) but flat-out lies.

This piece by Charles P. Pierce over at Esquire is pretty goddamned amazing as far as calling out these lies and the craven, lying liar-heads who spew them.

It was an entire evening based on a demonstrable lie. It was an entire evening based on demonstrable lies told in service to the overriding demonstrable lie. And there was only one real story for actual journalists to tell at the end of it.

The Republicans simply don’t care.

They don’t care that they lie. They don’t care that their lies are obvious. They don’t care that their lies wouldn’t fool an underpaid substitute Social Studies teacher in a public middle school, who would then probably go out one night and get yelled at by Chris Christie. (“They believe in teacher’s unions. We believe in teachers,” he said in his speech. Yeah, you just don’t believe in paying them.) They don’t care that their history is a lie and that, by spreading it, they devalue the actual history of the country, which is something that belongs to us.

If only the “mainstream” “liberal” media were as forceful in calling out these lies – though I suppose to some extent it doesn’t matter, since the idiots who vote Republican get their “news” from Fox, which is simply the PR division for the Republican party. Nevertheless, why can’t people other than Mr. Pierce and Rachel Maddow call this shit out? Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams and Scott Pelley should all be leading each night with “Republican Convention Speeches Comprised Entirely of Lies.” I can dream, can’t I..?

On RNC Opening Night, Republicans Dare to Build a Lie 


Well, as is well-known, I am the worst – especially at posting regularly (though also in every other observable way!). And I actually have plenty of stuff I want to write about. But I think the upcoming 9th anniversary of my 39th birthday is taking a heavy toll on my initiative – though to my credit, I have thus far not even come close to defenestration. Though, in what I hope is not a case of foreshadowing, my primary household chore for this weekend is cleaning the windows….

So, as I while away the hours not writing, please enjoy what is arguably the most hilarious scene yet from Parks and Recreation – not to mention a shoo-in for this year’s Emmy for “Best Comedy Scene – Gloria Estefan Song Division.”

Oh Books!

Yikes! I’ve once again failed to keep up with posting a regular basis – and this just after I had some new readers thanks to my recent brush with greatness! So, while I try and think of some words to write, please enjoy this cartoon.

from Incidental Comics (Grant Snider)

Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan

So, I sent my friend Jean a link to the Colour Me Good ’80s coloring book (also available: the Ryan Gosling coloring book… swoon). And Jean, being a true friend, was at my desk in the blink of an eye, having immediately printed out the Alexis page for my coloring pleasure.

Now, I’m not much of an artist and have never had any talent for drawing. But, I have to say, my coloring job here is a fucking masterpiece. Though I sure wish I’d had a brown pen for the hair…

Also, it’s pronounced “Dinasty” – like in “dinner.” ‘Cause I’m fancy like that.

How Charming!

Got a message from a fellow the other night via one of the several gay “social” apps I use. He’s in South Carolina, which isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker – I’ve met some very nice fellows who live far, far away from me. I’m always open to making new friends, including the online variety.

Now, before I get to the nut (heh) of this story, let me provide you with the full and unexpurgated extent of his online “About” description:

please be nice. its not very hard. if i say hello or pay you a compliment, the least you can do is say thanks. Jesus. treat people like they’re human beings.

A sentiment with which I agree! There’s no reason not to be polite just because the conversation occurs online. Granted, he does come across as a bit whiny. I mean, come on – we all know at this point what we’re getting ourselves into when we sign up. Despite the fact that there’s generally no need to be an a-hole to someone who says hello, it’s gonna happen. But I totally get what he’s saying!

So, keeping in mind this gentleman’s very explicit entreaty for civility (along with the fact that he is located nearly 3000 miles away from me, thus precluding any opportunity for something more booty-call-esque in nature – not, mind you, that I am interested in that type of encounter… Seriously, I’m not!), here is the full and unexpurgated extent of his introductory message to me:

u into cbt?

As tempting as it was to respond, “I adore Ceylon black tea!” or “Doesn’t everyone love cuddling big time?” I went with the straightforward “I’m fine, thanks! How are you?” And then immediate availed myself of the “block” function.

Oh, well, it was a car, not a bike, so no big deal…

Hey, I’m ridin’ here!

So, another pedestrian was killed in San Francisco – the 11th this year. Of these 11 deaths, 10 were caused by motor vehicles and one by a bicycle. The most recent death occurred on Saturday evening in the Tenderloin and was caused when a taxi driver allegedly ran a red light and struck the pedestrian. This story warranted a total of four paragraphs in SFGate – while there are at least seven discrete articles relating to the death of a pedestrian who was struck by a bicyclist in March.

I only learned of the most recent pedestrian death via the news crawl on KTVU this morning. And it’s really infuriating. Pedestrian deaths by automobile receive barely a raised eyebrow, yet when a bicycle is the culprit, the pitchforks and torches are out in an instant.

Don’t get me wrong – Chris Bucchere, the cyclist who is accused of driving recklessly and is facing felony manslaughter charges, appears to be completely culpable in the death of the pedestrian he struck when allegedly running a red light. But why did that particular case warrant such an inordinate amount of coverage? Simply because he was cycling – had he run the red light and killed a pedestrian while driving a motor vehicle, no one would even know Chris Bucchere’s name.

I think people, regardless of mode of transportation, should be held accountable  when their negligent behavior causes death or injury. But there also needs to be acknowledgement – both legally and culturally – that bicycles and automobiles are very different. Bicycles are statistically and demonstrably less of a danger to pedestrians. Being hit by a 2000 lb. automobile traveling at 30 MPH is more likely to cause severe injury or death than being bit by 30 lb. bicycle – this is not my opinion, it is a fact, based on the laws of physics. Yet the anti-bike folks in SF continue to trot out anecdotal evidence of how terrible bike riders in the City are and the level of risk they present.

This is why cyclists like me tend to roll our eyes when we hear the breathless accounts of the rampant lawlessness of the biking community in SF, of our constant and intentional menacing of all pedestrians – these complaints are not based on reality. “Oh, well, just this morning I was nearly run over by a guy on a bike who didn’t stop!” That may very well be true – but it’s likely that 1o people had the exact same experience this morning with a motor vehicle, but since cars remain king (and more ubiquitous than bikes), it’s not even remarked upon.

Frankly, those who shout loudest about the exaggerated “danger” of bicycles should also be shouting the loudest about more and better dedicated bike infrastructure, which would keep bikes separated from cars and more effectively manage interaction with peds. However, the anti-bike crowd seems to care only about issuing more citations to cyclists or blocking the creation of new bike lanes that might result in fewer parking spaces or travel lanes for motor vehicles. So, as a biker, I am  left to conclude  that anti-bike sentiment is purely visceral, not based on facts and simply a reflection of the complainers’ bias.

Of course, that’s just a long-winded way of saying I think the anti-bike folks are, in fact, stupid.

Fuck You, NBC: Part II

I’ve railed both here and on Facebook about NBC’s truly awful coverage of the Olympics in London. And as I’ve continued to watch, probably the most depressing aspect of all is the extraordinarily jingoistic and America-centric nature of the coverage.

Sure, it’s great to root for the home team – but what about celebrating (or even acknowledging) the athleticism and competition of some of the rest of the world? In fact, for me, the chauvinistic nature of NBC’s coverage has found me rooting against some of the home team, simply because NBC’s constant (and often incorrect) hype makes some of the competitors seems like juggernauts, steamrolling all in their path to win gold. They almost seem like bullies.

Take the women’s beach volleyball competition. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings have been telecast ad nauseum by NBC – hour upon hour upon hour of boring beach volleyball. Of course, not a single match has been shown in primetime in which May-Treanor and Jennings aren’t competing. NOT ONE – not even the other American team, who ultimately met May-Treanor and Jennings in the gold medal match.

The fact of the matter is, winning gold medals for three Olympics in a row is pretty impressive stuff – but NBC’s bludgeoning, heavy-handed coverage just made me wish the Americans would lose, if only for a little variety in the competition.

The saddest part of all is missing out on some really great stories. The other night, NBC was kind enough to broadcast the gold medal competition in short track cycling – presumably since one of the competitors, Jason Kenny, was from the UK (i.e. an honorary American in the NBC world, thanks to English being his first language). The five minutes of coverage were among the most exciting I’d seen during the Olympics. Yet that was all I that was shown. Not a single bit of the competition leading up to that final. And no doubt, if the two finalists had been from France and Trinidad, NBC wouldn’t have shown the race.

Plus, while NBC was limiting their swimming coverage and interviews solely to American athletes, we missed out on this, which I read in the NY Times:

(Chad) Le Clos, 20, said he watched Phelps win six golds and two bronzes at the Athens Olympics and was inspired to become a champion swimmer. It was not a coincidence that Le Clos swam six events in London, including the same four individual ones as Phelps. After watching Phelps win a record eight golds in Beijing, Le Clos added more events to his program to be like Mike. On Tuesday, he pulled off a monumental upset when he handed Phelps his first major international defeat in 10 years in the 200-meter butterfly.

“That’s why I was so emotional afterwards,” Le Clos said. “He was the reason I swam the butterfly. It’s not a joke. If you think about it, it’s kind of crazy.” He added: “That’s why I swim the 200 freestyle, both the I.M.’s. I don’t swim it for any other reason than just because Michael does.”

Phelps got choked up when he heard that he was Le Clos’s hero and role model, Bowman said. “It means Michael’s done what he wanted to do: affect the sport of swimming,” Bowman added.

I mean, that is great stuff – and truly what the Olympics ought to be about! NBC’s myopic focus on a select few athletes is actually the antithesis of everything Olympic competition is supposed to represent – and I say that even in spite of all the corporate sponsorship and the politics and the shift away from amateur athletes. There are still feats occurring at these games that are awe-inspiring and moments of sheer wonder. But NBC will only share a chosen few and then beat them to death until they have lost any semblance of meaning. So, congratulations again NBC for your truly terrible job of broadcasting this wonderful event!

My Brush With Greatness…

I was absolutely delighted when I was notified on Friday that my post Bread(ed Chicken) and Circuses (in which I pontificated about the ridiculous brouhaha regarding Chick-fil-A and its gay-hating president Dan Cathy) had been selected to be featured on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed– their “best of” bloggers page. I was especially thrilled given that my headline alone is deserving of great praise, if I do say so myself. Seriously, it is excellent, isn’t it?


I should also add that I was rather pleasantly surprised at the tenor of the comments – some of them were odd, some of them were annoyingly non-secular – but there were no horrible episodes of name-calling. And, quite shockingly, there wasn’t a single mention of “it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!”

And while I stand by the hypothesis of my original post, my thinking has evolved somewhat. To a large degree, I think it remains ridiculous that people equate eating or not eating mediocre, unhealthy chicken sandwiches with making a political statement. However, the responses of many who share Mr. Cathy’s bigotry was shocking. This article by Jesse Bering on Slate was eye-opening to say the least – most notably the tweets he posted, most littered with references to “faggots.” Granted, I live in the liberal bubble of SF – but it’s nearly unbelievable to me that there are so many people who feel comfortable in expressing this type of hatred in a public forum such as Twitter. And that they apparently suffer no social consequences in their particular circles; that they are surrounded by people who are quite comfortable with sentiments along the lines of “kill fags.”

I thought David Sirota’s piece over at Salon was pretty good, too – even if perhaps some of his points (equating drought and homophobia) were perhaps a bit tenuous.

So, yes, perhaps this episode is a bit more than a tempest in a teapot. And frankly, at this point, I am quite comfortable labeling those who patronize Chick-fil-A as homophobes. It’s a pretty simple fact – CFA and Dan Cathy donate millions to anti-gay groups. And the source of those millions is people who buy those chicken sandwiches.

Anyway, to end on a lighter note, there’s this: a crowd of CFA customers singing a round of “God Bless America” while waiting to purchase more grease to cram down their maws. Yes, it really is genuinely tragic that these people equate purchasing fast food with civic engagement – though I’m not exactly unhappy  that their political “actions” will only hasten their deaths from diabetes, heart disease and morbid obesity. But it is also hilarious… especially given that it was written by Irving Berlin, a Russian Jewish immigrant to this country.

It’s not rocket science people…

So the bike racks in the parking lot at my office are of the “lowboy” variety – that is, the bike’s front wheel sits inside a pair of low profile metal loops that make up the rack. The racks are arranged in a single row with access available from either side.

Lowboy bike rack

Now, it is obvious to me and to any right thinking person that the only appropriate way to park one’s bike in this particular arrangement is to alternate loops on each side. In other words, if Bike A parks in slot 1, entering on the west side of the rack, then Bike B parks in slot 2, entering on the east side, Bike C parks in slot 3, etc.  This provides easy ingress and egress for all bicycles; minimizes pedals, handlebars, baskets and other equipment from getting all smashed up and tangled; and leaves some room to attach the lock to the bike and rack.

Like this, dummies

Instead, of course, people just park all willy-nilly, with nary a care nor a thought for their fellow cyclists. When I arrived this morning, slot 1 and slot 4 were both being used by east-facing bikes! Whether I properly park in slot 2 or 3, the remaining slot will now either be out of commission or some jackass will just cram his shitty bike in there, making it a big production for me to simply retrieve my bike. IDIOTS. It’s really the moral equivalent of taking up two parking spaces.

And, as if that weren’t bad enough, someone (who shows up to work earlier than I – presumably solely out of spite) has AGAIN parked his bike in slot 1 – which as everyone should be well-aware is MY spot that I have been using for ages. Why must my life be such a trial? The sole consolation is that my bike is still far-and-away the best bike on the rack….

Bread(ed Chicken) and Circuses

Christ, what an asshole.

You know what I think about this whole Chick-fil-A brouhaha? Nothing – it’s a big “who cares?” At this point, everyone is well aware that the chicken sandwich purveyor’s CEO, Dan Cathy, is a homophobic god-botherer and that he and his company give money to groups opposed to civil rights for us gays.

And now that we all have this knowledge, we can do with it what we wish. I, for one, shall not patronize this establishment – though given the fact that the nearest Chick-fil-A to SF is in Walnut Creek and that I’m an insufferable food snob, this is unlikely to effect either my life or the bottom line of said poultry emporium. Meanwhile, the grease-craving among us – be they flaming flamers or fire-and-brimstone religious kooks or unemployed Alaskan grifters – are free to reach their own decision as to where they’ll purchase their next salt-laden, deep-fried slab of fowl. No one’s First Amendment rights are at risk or being trampled here. We’re all free to express our opinions however we see fit.

So, can we just fucking drop it already? All this time and energy wasted on a tempest in a teapot. Do you really want to piss off Miss Mr. Cathy? Then let’s finally make gay marriage legal at the federal level, with same-sex married couples entitled to all the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex married couples. And then watch the bigots squirm when they are forced to put their money where their mouths are. Oh, you don’t want to insure your gay employees’ spouses? Well, that’s illegal. Oh, OK – you’re going to stop offering insurance to all your employees’ spouses? Good luck with hiring!

I wrote earlier about my view that the bigots have already lost on this issue, because corporate America has concluded that same-sex marriage is good for business. There will always be out-liers like Chick-fil-A – but once same-sex marriage is the law of the land, they’ll have to comply with that law. Sure, they won’t like it – I’m certain there are still plenty of business owners who would happily refuse service to blacks or Jews or Latinos or some other segment of the population. But they can’t, because it’s illegal. Sure, they still hold on to their hateful bigotry in their personal views and opinions – but they can’t inflict them on the rest of us in violation of the law.

So, again, enough with the Chick-fil-A. It’s a time-wasting distraction from issues that actually make a difference in the lives of gay men and lesbians. Railing against the blithering of a fast-food magnate is not worth the effort. Making same-sex marriage legal, on the other hand, is absolutely worth the effort.

Fuck you, NBC

Here is a list of all the  disciplines of sport that make up the current Olympic Summer Games:

  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • BMX
  • Boxing
  • Canoe/kayak (slalom)
  • Canoe/kayak (sprint)
  • Diving
  • Equestrian (Dressage)
  • Equestrian (Eventing)
  • Equestrian (Jumping)
  • Fencing
  • Field hockey
  • Football
  • Gymnastics (Artistic)
  • Gymnastics (Rhythmic)
  • Gymnastics (Trampoline)
  • Handball
  • Judo
  • Modern pentathlon
  • Mountain biking
  • Road cycling
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Shooting
  • Swimming
  • Synchronized swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Track cycling
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball (beach)
  • Volleyball (indoor)
  • Water polo
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling (Freestyle)
  • Wrestling (Greco-Roman)

Here is a list of the sports I have seen on NBC prime-time over the past six days (many hours after the competitions have completed and results reported not only by every online, broadcast and print news organization, but frequently by NBC itself during its own promos):

  • Diving
  • Gymnastics (Artistic)
  • Swimming
  • Volleyball (beach)
  • Volleyball (indoor)

Oh, and I don’t suppose I need to add, the only competitions NBC was gracious enough to air were those in which Americans participated. Don’t even get me started on the jingoistic nature of the coverage. We were treated to hour after hour of the U.S. men’s gymnastic team having a terrible time in the team competition – yet we saw virtually none of their competitors’ (i.e. the winners!) routines. The rings exercises were not shown once. It’s really disgraceful. And I haven’t even mentioned the valuable airtime wasted with Ryan Seacrest (RYAN SEACREST!) “reporting” on which athletes are trending on Twitter. AAAUUUGGGGGHHH! The worst.

Here’s an interesting piece about the whole debacle. The sad part is, ratings are through the roof apparently. So we can expect more of the same in 2016 and 2020. I think at this point I ought to spend two weeks in London for every Olympics, just so I can enjoy the apparently marvelous BBC broadcast.

And did those feet in ancient time…

I’m thinking maybe London should host every Olympics. Or maybe the IOC just needs to hire this lady to work the opening ceremony for every Olympiad – she is  brilliant.

I’m Lazy…

Surprisingly, I’ve not yet gotten up the steam to rant about how terrible NBC’s coverage of the Olympics has been (other than a couple of Facebook posts). And I’ve not been inspired to write about anything else this week. So, in the meantime, please enjoy an elephant drinking from a swimming pool.